Stop 4 of the Surfing America Prime West Series: Steamer Lane
Frigid menehunes take on big surf in Santa Cruz
Surfing America Prime scored for its sixth consecutive year in Santa Cruz, California. The Pacific roared to life on January 11th, sending gigantic conditions for the young competitors to contend with. The USA surf team and its hopeful recruits had to bring out the step-ups to tackle Sundays afternoons 12-to-15 foot waves.
The "Prime" events are an elite surf series that provides a platform for the under 18 competitors to refine their act under the observing eye of USA Surf Team head coach, Ryan Simmons. The talented youth and their supportive parents are working towards the ultimate goal of representing America in the ISA World Juniors, an event that will suffice for an Olympic experience. Coaches Ryan Simmons and Micah Byrne would take note on how the Team would adapt to such powerful conditions. Local knowledge is always vital at the Lane, which was proved best by Santa Cruz Standout, Ben Coffey. The Pride of the West Side dominated the Under 18 final in front of his hometown crowd. Definitely netting a few bonus points with all the girls that came out to watch his performance
Hailing from the surf less regions of Long Beach, Nolan Rapoza was able to show his prowess with his backhand by capturing the win in the Under 16's. A double finalist on the weekend, Rapoza surfed smart to drive home double fisting original trophies hand painted by Beach Marshal, Andrea Swayne.
Athletes had to contend with mountains of whitewater and a relentless, river-like current. The competition was a true test of mental and physical endurance and Kei Kobayashi was without of the doubt, the ironman of the event. Kei surfed with tremendous tenacity that would see him qualify through 8 heats and into the Under 16 final. The San Clemente freshmen showed his valor by copping a relentless beating courtesy of a 4th reef phantom set. He's proving to be a definite threat for the next event held at his home break, Upper Trestles. The "Frigid Midget" of the event was another San Clemente son, Crosby Colapinto. Crosby charged well beyond his years to get his maiden Prime win in the stacked Under 14's.
The Ladies at the Lane put on a quite the spectacle. USA team member, Maddie Peterson, netted the highest wave score of the event a (8.93). She however was unable to fend off hard charging Meah Collins. Collins was able to slash her way to an Under 16 win and a third in under 18's.
USA Surf Team member, Steffi Kerson, had a break through performance by winning the Woman's Under 18 final. Kerson maneuvered her Roberts pintail into some stylish backside carves netting her the win and the crucial ratings points needed to qualify for U.S.A championships at Lower, Trestles.
The Lane rewarded "Surfing America Prime" another fantastic event. Every grom looked exhausted from the triathlon like intensity of the conditions. To their great enjoyment, Ultra Crepes Food Truck whipped up some artisan crepes along with chocolate milk, giving the necessary fix to get them through the weekend long event.--Jacob M. Tellkamp